Business dos and don'ts in Hungary

Rvo,  Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Traffic lights 
in Budapest 

Below you will find some practical tips for doing business in Hungary.

Hungarians are formal, the hierarchy is important. They have an indirect but expressive way of communicating. Make sure you always have business cards with you. In a group, it is customary to hand out a business card to all those present.

In Hungary, you first mention your surname and then your first name; in contacts with foreigners, the names (also on business cards) often come in the order that is customary with us. Women usually use the name of the spouse, with the addition' -ne' (Madame). Nagy Janosne, for example, is the wife of Nagy Janos, for us Janos Nagy.

Business relations

Hungarians like to develop a personal relationship with their business partners. Therefore, invest in building such relationships. This facilitates cooperation and increases mutual trust. During business conversations, English is usually spoken. German is considered to be the second language of trade. The older generation speaks mainly German.

In the beginning, it will not always be clear who is the highest placed. Especially because the (older) director often does not speak English or German. He does not actively participate in the conversation. It is therefore important to keep an eye on the oldest Hungarian negotiating partner in the company and less on the interpreter or junior staff member who speaks the foreign language.

Company culture

  • Women are equal business partners.
  • Be punctual.
  • Business discussions are formal. Dress up neatly.
  • Hungarian companies are often hierarchically structured. Important decisions are taken at a high level. On the Hungarian side, there are often several people present.
  • Trust plays a major role in Hungarian business culture.
  • Most Hungarian business partners focus on personal relationships. Contact via e-mail or a mailing is usually not enough.
  • Business and social life are intertwined in Hungary. It is standard practice to conclude business conversations with an alcoholic drink. They also regularly use lunch or dinner after the negotiations have ended. A meal is a social affair in which it is unusual to discuss matters.

  • Business Gifts

    Small business gifts are often given. It is appreciated if you respond with an invitation to dinner and/or a business gift. This can be in the form of a bottle of good drink (no wine) or promotional items with the company logo.

    This article of is based on . Translated from the Dutch language by Jos Deuling.

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